This Simple Tip Will Make You a Great Conversationalist

A few days ago I attended a meeting organized for volunteers of an upcoming event I’d be volunteering at. Prior to that day, I had never met most of the people on the team. However, when the convener of the event walked into the meeting venue, a few minutes before the meeting was to start, he saw I and someone he was pretty certain I didn’t know, having a really engaging conversation.

And so he asked, “Do both of you know each other?” We both smiled at him and said “No” and in my mind, I knew I had once again worked my magic. 😊 Oh well, truth is, I can be serious (or too serious for my own good) but if I put my mind to it, I can get a stranger to feel like they’ve known me for years and you know one way I achieve that?

With a smile on my face, I ask the other person open-ended questions about the things they care about and I keep quiet and let them talk.

We all love to be listened to. And we all have subjects we feel passionate about. One way you can get most people happily engaged in a conversation with you is by quickly figuring out what they care about and asking open-ended questions about it.

But the truth is, you don’t really need to think too much about what to ask. Simply asking people the meaning of their names and if they know who gave them that name and why are, some of my go-to questions when I first meet people and I can’t remember a friendly stranger who was unwilling or unhappy to answer.

Yeah, I say ‘friendly stranger’, because you can’t force someone who has chosen not to speak to you (for whatever reason) to do so. Conversation starters only work when you’re dealing with someone who’s willing to engage with you but probably didn’t know how to initiate the conversation by themselves or originally thought they probably didn’t need to.

Other simple go-to questions are – Why they chose their line of work, how much they enjoy it and why? Trust me, most people will happily answer these questions because it really shows thoughtfulness on your part. Finally, as you listen to their response, you’ll naturally come up with follow up questions that keep the conversation flowing 😁

So if you’ve been struggling to network with people or make new friends, be sure to try out this tip and tell me how it went.


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